Taber’s own Arthur McCann has been on the job for over forty years. Listen to him tell his fascinating story as part of Taber’s video spotlight series.
Fuel consumption has always been a major economic factor in the transportation business, but with the EPA changing the guidelines and rules, what exactly does that mean for the ‘average joe’? The way to better fuel economy is a lighter vehicle. The lighter the vehicle, the better the fuel economy (or miles per gallon is layman speak). For transportation, including heavy-duty trucks and even for the consumer driven market, that means changing how vehicles are made.
How does an industry reduce the weight of a vehicle without reducing its capacity to perform? Changing materials to aluminum is the current ‘go-to’ answer. According to The Aluminum Association, “The weight and emission benefits that result from using aluminum in heavy-duty trucks are significant. Research conducted by Ricardo Consulting Engineers has shown that an “aluminum-intensive” Class 8 commercial tractor trailer can reduce vehicle weight by 3,300 pounds. For every 10 percent of weight reduction, up to a 5.5 percent improvement in fuel economy is possible. The study also found that substituting the nation’s fleet of Class 8 tractor-trailers with aluminum-intensive models would save 9.3 million tons of CO2 annually.”
On the consumer side, aluminum will play a fast and furious role into developing the next generation of vehicles. Automakers are thinking about mobility, effectiveness, strength, and meeting EPA emissions standards which means reaching into the current and available technologies like aluminum to develop automotive frames.
Taber is well known in the industry for its aluminum extrusions, already having earned Boeing’s Gold Supplier rating. Taber’s aluminum extrusion process is easy to machine and cast and has one third the density of steel, proving that they can significantly reduce the weight of commercial and consumer vehicles without reducing performance, which is exactly with the industry needs to meet the goals that the EPA has demanded.
A new study has just confirmed that “aluminum is the most sustainable choice for the environment.” The study, conducted by the Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) Center for Resource Recovery and Recycling and funded by the Aluminum Association, concluded a recycling rate of over 90 percent (91 percent to be exact) for automotive aluminum.
“As the United States and the rest of the world continue to strive for a more environmentally friendly future, aluminum is a big part of the solution and this new data confirms it,” states the report.
This is welcome news for automakers throughout North America who face increasingly stringent energy efficiency demands. As the DOE advocates for these eco-friendly standards, automotive manufacturers are facing more pressure to comply with these standards while maintaining their revenue.
Aluminum seems to be the answer to these automakers’ new challenges. Aluminum extrusions are lighter than traditional steel, thus improving fuel efficiency. At the same time, the aforementioned recycling rate of aluminum cuts down on waste while also lessening sourcing costs – improving the sustainability of processes and products while saving money and meeting energy standards.
Taber Extrusions is uniquely positioned to engage the evolving aluminum extrusions needs of the automotive industry. With unmatched extrusion capabilities – including the production of North America’s widest, most complex, and heaviest shapes – Taber combines extensive experience with manufacturing flexibility. In-house aluminum machining and fabrication further expands Taber’s scope of capabilities through CNC machining, ultrasonic testing, sawing, welding, and more.
Ford Motor Company announced on Monday that their 2017 F-series Super Duty coming to showrooms this fall, the F-450, will feature an unprecedented aluminum frame.
The move toward aluminum as the primary fabrication metal for the automotive body comes amidst the never-ending battle within the automotive industry for the highest towing capacity. Ford’s newest and beefiest truck to date, the F-450 tops out with a 32,500-pound towing capacity – adding 1,300 additional pounds to the current leader.
In order to incorporate heavier, more heavy-duty components to help with towing capacity, Ford decided to make the switch to an aluminum body in order to redistribute weight. The lightweight attributes of aluminum have long made it one of the best choices not only for strength and mobility, but also for durability and custom chemical and mechanical properties.
“The switch to aluminum was considered one of the boldest moves in the auto world in the past few years,” stated USA Today. Steel has been the dominant force in automotive fabrication for, well, forever. But the benefits of aluminum as a structural alternative are undeniable: it’s lighter, just as strong, durable, and more efficient. Not only do aluminum parts help with towing capacity – they also improve fuel efficiency, addressing a major concern among car buyers and manufacturers alike.
If aluminum is good enough for Ford’s newest F-series – America’s best-selling vehicle – we have a feeling it will be good enough for more major players in the automotive industry sooner than later.
The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) in partnership with the Aluminum Association announced promising industry estimates for aluminum major markets on Monday, July 11. Most notable of its findings was the increase in total domestic consumption of aluminum extrusions, which totaled over 5 billion pounds in 2015 – a growth of 4.6 percent compared to the 2014 total of 4.89 billion pounds.
This impressive result marks the sixth consecutive year of aluminum extrusion’s consistent growth, quickly approaching the peak growth realized in 2006.
“What is most exciting about these results is the growth the industry is realizing overall, especially in automotive applications,” said Jeff Henderson, President of the Aluminum Extruders Council. Whereas in years past growth has been attributed to one or two major end use markets, this year showed a profound growth across the board. This is welcome news for us at Taber Extrusions, where we consistently diversify our extrusion products by supplying some of the most complex and unique extrusions to consumers in almost every industry imaginable.
While building and construction applications continue to make up the dominant industry consumer of aluminum extrusions at 37.4 percent, the transportation (automotive) industry is fast-approaching as the new dominant force, making up 31.8 percent of extrusion shipments and showing a total growth of 8.7 percent compared to last year. As demands grow for more sustainable, lighter cars Taber Extrusions is well-equipped to handle the increasing needs for automotive applications from casting custom alloys to extrusion and a wide array of aluminum fabrication services.
We look forward to finishing up 2015 with another year of expansion, diversity, and innovation. Here’s to six more years of growth!
Taber is proud to stand apart as more than just an extruder. With the broadest capabilities and value-added offerings, Taber is your full-service partner from design to delivery.
After aluminum has been extruded, it is sent to the machining center to be cut, sawed, and processed. Our aluminum fabrication capabilities include precision sawing, horizontal machining and manufacturing, long length CNC machining, 5-axis CNC machining, as well as high speed vertical machining capability.
Our focus today is our HMC 500 horizontal machining center. Built for speed and faster cycle times, this machine features a 500mm pallet designed to accommodate some of the largest work pieces in its class. The fully-loaded HMC 500 works with 50 horsepower and a lightweight column featuring a rigid stepped X axis rail design. This column enables a rapid feed rate of 63 meters per minute, 2480 inches per minute, with acceleration of 1G.
Delivering added time & cost savings, the OKK HMC 500 Horizontal Machining Center helps Taber continue to provide customized, versatile, high-quality market-oriented products that can satisfy a wide range of applications.
Taber: The broadest capabilities in the aluminum extrusion industry.
AeroGo has been revolutionizing load moving solutions for over 50 years, and Taber Extrusions has been a proud AeroGo partner for over 30 of those years. Located in Seattle, Washington AeroGo provides innovative solutions for moving extremely heavy materials through air bearing systems.
In 1967, AeroGo began engineering design and fabrication for specialized assembling and tooling fixtures for the aerospace industry. Over the years, the company has expanded to provide practical and efficient methods of rotation, alignment, transfer, location, and movement of materials weighing anywhere from 500 pounds to over 5,000 tons through air bearing systems (custom or standard air caster systems).
Over the years, AeroGo has transformed into a problem solving company by supplying customers with latest technology for any load moving challenges. In order to stay current with the latest fabrication and machining technology, AeroGo implements continuous development to integrate the latest technology into moving and assembling the heaviest and most cumbersome loads. Your moving problems are solved with wheel transporters, rails, air casters (bearings), or stationary manipulators.
Air casters are designed to float heavy loads on a virtually frictionless small film of air. Using air bearing systems to move heavy loads provides a clean, quiet, and safe alternative for handling heavy loads and has many benefits, including:
- Reduced need for cranes and heavy machinery to move heavy and cumbersome loads.
- Reduced friction and omni-directional transfer, allowing precise handling of heavy and awkward loads.
- Provides operator with better ability to maneuver in a limited work space.
- Air casters will not damage floors and have a low profile.
- Due to the use of pneumatic components, air casters can operate in almost all environments unlike conventional methods of heavy load handling systems.
With applications in aerospace, energy, manufacturing, marine shipbuilding, on and offshore oil and gas, roll handling, military and defense, automotive, entertainment, and modular structures AeroGo is the preferred choice for those who work smarter, not harder.
General Motors first came on the scene as an innovator of aluminum machining technology in 2008 when they employed spot-welding to weld small amounts of aluminum to aluminum on a lift gate vehicle – now a mainstream and widely used technique for welding aluminum. This year, GM has broken another fabrication barrier by welding steel and aluminum together.
The different melting points of steel and aluminum created a major challenge for developers, as well as oxides that are present in aluminum and can cause weld failures. The research and development, however, has paid off – with a new successful technique in place that welds steel directly to aluminum and can be used in limitless applications.
Manufacturers aren’t stopping at aluminum machining innovation, though. GM has expressed interest in also using magnesium – a metal lighter than both aluminum and steel – in their production. Aluminum is much more cost effective than magnesium, however, so it remains a favorite for mass production and fabrication.
As a partner of the National Material Company steel group, we work closely with NMC to deliver high quality aluminum and steel products to our customers in a wide array of applications. With GM’s new aluminum-to-steel welding technology emerging, who knows just how close the aluminum and steel fields will become in the near future.
A futuristic, levitating train is in the works by Hyperloop One. Their secret to making it possible? Aluminum.
This levitation train travels at a low-pressure speed of 760 mph, but don’t let that figure blow your hair back. Inventor of the train Elon Musk says that the train will be a “a mix between Concorde, a rail gun, and an air hockey table that could take you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in under 30 minutes.”
In order to cut costs and keep the train lighter, designers opted for an aluminum “Hyperloop Levitation System” instead of traditional copper coils that make up other Maglev train systems, such as the one in Shanghai, China. Turning to aluminum as a less expensive material alternative increases the chances for levitation trains to be considered feasible transportation alternatives in the future by keeping them more affordable.
Although critics have doubted whether Hyperloop’s ultra-fast train will ever come to fruition, a major step in that dream becoming a reality was taken yesterday. In the middle of the Nevada desert, just outside of Las Vegas, Hyperloop’s first ever real-life demo took place (video).
Read more about how the demo went and watch some cool footage of the testing here. Or, read what USA Today had to say about the mean, lean, aluminum machine.
We here at Taber are interested to know what kind of extrusion shapes would go into this levitation system, and just how big those extruded aluminum parts might be. We would assume that for longevity and performance purposes, the extrusions would be heat treated, anodized, and machined. Aluminum fabrication and machining would be standard on parts like these.
Taber has provided machining and fabrication services for extruded aluminum parts in the past within the transportation and infrastructure industries. A levitation system, however, would be a first; and something that we would love to set our CNC machining team loose on!
Maybe one day Taber will be working on machining aluminum parts for levitating trains, planes, and automobiles. For now, though, we’re happy to stay grounded
A recent article published by U.S. Glass Mag talks about the increased effort towards “product transparency” in the aluminum extrusion industry via an industry-wide EPD for aluminum extruders. This urge for environmental accountability comes amidst a global push for more sustainable practices among large producers worldwide.
An industry-standard Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) document is in the works by the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC). These documents will help to track the environmental footprint made by extruders throughout North America, and will detail the sustainability of conventional aluminum extrusions as well as heat-treated extrusions, painted extrusions, and anodized extrusions.
This push toward greater transparency is cohesive with other sectors in the building and manufacturing industries, as global markets strive for greater accountability in production. Guy Charpentier, an AEC Chairman, says of the effort “Providing transparency regarding our environmental performance with extensive, third-party verified data is a key element of aluminum extrusions’ great sustainability story.”
It’s true; the aluminum extrusion industry continues to gain traction across multiple markets not only for its high-quality product performance, but for its eco-friendly benefits. Aluminum alloy products have revolutionized traditional manufacturing and construction; cutting down on resources that lower the overall environmental footprint of traditional projects.
Taber is proud to offer environmentally sound extrusion products to customers for years to come; building not only a stronger future, but a more sustainable one.